What is Jenkins?

What is Jenkins?

Learn more about the world's most popular CI/CD server

Jenkins® is an open source automation server. With Jenkins, organizations can accelerate the software development process by automating it. Jenkins manages and controls software delivery processes throughout the entire lifecycle, including build, document, test, package, stage, deployment, static code analysis and much more.

You can set up Jenkins to watch for any code changes in places like SVN and GitHub, automatically do a build with tools like Ant and Maven, utilize container technology such as Docker and Kubernetes, initiate tests and then take actions like rolling back or rolling forward in production.

History: It All Started with Jenkins Continuous Integration

The Jenkins project was started in 2004 (originally called Hudson) by Kohsuke Kawaguchi, CTO at CloudBees, while he worked for Sun Microsystems. Kohsuke was a developer at Sun and got tired of incurring the wrath of his team every time his code broke the build. He created Jenkins CI as a way to perform continuous integration – that is, to test his code before he did an actual commit to the repository, to be sure all was well. Once his teammates saw what he was doing, they all wanted to use Jenkins. Kohsuke open sourced it, creating the Jenkins CI project, and soon Jenkins usage had spread around the world.

Jenkins Today: Evolved to Continuous Delivery

Originally developed by Kohsuke for continuous integration (CI), today Jenkins orchestrates the entire software delivery pipeline – called continuous delivery. For some organizations automation extends even further, to continuous deployment. Continuous delivery (CD), coupled with a DevOps culture, dramatically accelerates the delivery of software.

Jenkins is the most widely adopted solution for continuous delivery, thanks to its extensibility and a vibrant, active community. The Jenkins community offers more than 1,400 plugins that enable Jenkins to integrate with virtually any tool, including all of the best-of-breed solutions used throughout the continuous delivery process. Jenkins continues to grow as the dominate solution for software process automation, continuous integration and continuous delivery and, as of February 2018, there are more than 165,000 active installations and an estimated 1.65 million users around the world.

The Jenkins project is an independent open source community under the umbrella of a non-profit organization Software in the Public Interest, which owns the key project assets including the Jenkins trademark. The project has its own decision-making process and a governance board.

CloudBees and the Jenkins Community

CloudBees is an active participant in the Jenkins community and plays a significant role in supporting the project. A number of key contributors to the Jenkins project are employed by CloudBees. In support of the community, CloudBees is the lead sponsor of DevOps World | Jenkins World, the annual user conference for the Jenkins community. Jenkins World enables the community to gather together, fosters a sense of community, allows users to learn from each other and supports community growth. CloudBees has also supported the growth of Jenkins Area Meetups (JAMs) around the world.

Engineers from the CloudBees support and product teams regularly contribute code to the Jenkins project, are active in Jenkins IRC channels and project meetings, and contribute to the Jenkins project mailing lists. Several of the key projects CloudBees has developed include Jenkins XBlue Ocean and Jenkins 2. Additionally, all fixes made by CloudBees in the open source code are donated back to the project – which helps us all to enjoy an ever-higher quality Jenkins experience.

CloudBees also provides a monthly newsletter for the Jenkins community called Continuous Information. It is filled with community tips and tricks, articles, presentations, events occurring around the world and many other resources. Subscribe and have it delivered to your inbox every month.

Major Development Milestones in the Jenkins Project

The community never sits still. It is constantly innovating and improving Jenkins. Here are some of the major development milestones for the Jenkins project:

Additional Resources


The registered trademark Jenkins® is used pursuant to a sublicense from the Jenkins project and Software in the Public Interest, Inc.